The End of Recess (111 Columbia St.)

There’s always that one kid who doesn’t die when he gets shot in a schoolyard game of war. Some other child soldier aims down his airy scope and slows his breathing so that no movement of his chest changes the trajectory of his shot. He feels a ghostly recoil as he pulls an imaginary trigger. The invisible, intangible, silent but certainly deadly bullet hits its target. However the target remains upright. You’ll try to confront the walking deadman, who might have spontaneously turned into a zombie. That happens sometimes. But if that’s the case, he would walk with his arms in front of him and one leg dragging behind. This kid doesn’t know he’s been gravely wounded. “Hey! I shot you!” you yell.

“Nuh-uh! I had super speed so I dodged it.” He says, leaping side to side to showoff his subpar super speed. It looks pretty slow but deep down you know he’s right. Now you’re there, looking stupid because you forgot he had super speed. How could you be so ignorant? Next time you’ll make sure to have heat seeking bullets to follow him no matter how fast he moves. No way he has super speed and defensive flares.

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Passing Wood (Somewhere in Ithaca, NY)

Somewhere in these woods, there is a glade
full of rusty retired cars. The paths are too narrow,
kept hostage by sky reaching cedars and short shrubs
so I know these cars weren’t driven there. The forest
grew around those relics. Not a tree bumps a bumper
and no grass grows taller than the rims. The forest
is kept at bay by those watchful headlights, dim
but not dumb. The woods will never encroach.
No branch will reach in through the window
and tune the radio with its cold arms.
Nor will the thorny bushes poke its fingers
around the backseat searching for keys.
And the old matches will stay unmoved.
The still wet and useless but undisturbed.
And the engine will rot but never be replaced.

Cars are called she. I don’t know why.
I know that she is lost. But she is okay,
content with calling the grove home,
as long as it respects her. As long as
it does not seek to uproot her.
She will be happy and grow older here.
And she will greet every lost boy who finds
her just the same way. He will see those headlights
and swear by all things good that they shined.

Finding x

The funny thing about x
is that one moment it’s found
only to go missing the next time around.

Part I

My grandmother found x in a man
who puffed and puffed and shook her bones
with his voice. He grabbed her by the ribs
and said he was taking back what God had stole.
She saw the equation solved and complicated again
every time he said he loved her.
She could never tell who he was saying it to.

Part II

My mother found x in her children.
The x comes in infrequent, but savory scraps
of mothers-day cards and kisses goodnight.
But when our x is so faithless, I think she goes
looking in the Christian radio station.

Part IV
My sister found x in herself when she said
she’d never let another man touch her.
My grandmother laughed and cried that night.
She knows that x in our hands and hearts is like
finding x in candles that will always need to be
replaced and relit.

Part V

I found x in a Sunday service.
It was at the alter where I cried
and didn’t know who I was mourning.
It was underneath the pews.
It was in the stained-glass portrait
of a man who could’ve been my friend
if only he was around more often.
The funny thing about God is that I thought I found Him,
only for him to go missing from His tomb.

Body Language

My therapist said that my heart

needs to talk to my brain more.

They need to be in agreement,

on the same page. But my heart

doesn’t speak whatever language it is

my brain does. My heart speaks in

clicks and thuds. It’s always moving,

call it body language in it’s truest form.

I teach my brain this language.

It becomes fluent, studying every textbook,

it’s grammar is perfect, it’s accent is a bit off,

but thats okay. I sit the two down together.

The brain speaks first, like it always does.

It says something about equal and opposite reaction,

we must wait to react, until we can find out

what an appropriate action will be.

My heart just nods. Brain continues,

“What do you think?”

My heart just nods. Brain says,

“Do you understand the accent?”

My heart just nods but it can not form

an articulate sentence in its own language.

It is not educated on equal and opposite reactions.

It is a Mexican farmer coming to the U.S.

You blame his lack of english skills

on where he was raised, but he still

can’t hold a complicated conversation

that won’t complicate his need to articulate

his own tongue so he just nods away all his problems.

My brain is teaching my heart its own language.

My brain is destroying body language.

Destruction in its truest form.

The Host

I would love to say I need you,

that I would be incomplete without you,

that you are the part that makes me whole.

But I was whole before you.

I was not a malnourished child,

that weaned off starvation when you came.

I was more like a complete dinner,

laid out for guests to devour and you

were the first to accept the invitation.

I hope you enjoyed the feast.

Theres no doubt you did. You devoured it.

When you had your share,

you left, full, and happy.

And I am left. Parts of me chewed,

other parts thrown into the trash.

I am left like scraps on a plate,

washed away as if they were never there.

The plates are clean again.

I’ll go set another table for one.

Let’s see if the next person,

has the decency to help me clean up.

Half-Light

Between sunrise and sunset,

I don’t know what draws me closer.

The thought that now will eventually be

then or that my then, can never be now

again. You see, I’ve made too many mistakes

to let one slip again, so I’d like to turn back the clock.

I want to take a jar and fill it with my mistakes,

like fireflies, trapped for their own good. But now,

its too late for these lightning bugs. But even caged bug refuse to be

anything less than shining and bright. They were once closer,

to God and good, and forgiveness, closer than I was. So now,

I let these fireflies go, I can’t keep them here.

If I did, they would die an unholy death, haunting me.

So I’ll release them, in the time where they can clearly be seen:

a time between sunset and sunrise.